Overnight Turkey – cook it while you sleep!

Don’t be afraid to try something new! This method for preparing your Thanksgiving turkey might be different than anything you’ve ever tried but I promise you won’t be disappointed. It will allow you to relax and enjoy the rest of your meal prep without worrying if the main feature on the table turns out good or not because this is perfect every single time! I’ve even included a video showing you step by step how to do this so you won’t be anxious about messing it up. It really is so easy!

I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons! It’s a time to focus on your family & the blessings in your life while also being able to enjoy delicious food! Get your stretchy pants ready!!

If you’ve ever been responsible for making the Thanksgiving turkey for the big meal, I’m sure you also felt intimidated. It’s the main feature on the table but sadly, many times they end up too dry to really enjoy. I bet you’ve also seen a beautiful turkey ready to be served, but by the time everything else is ready, the turkey is not just dry, but cold too!

A few years ago, a friend of mine shared how she bakes her Thanksgiving turkey and once I gave it a try, I’ve never looked back!

This recipe is especially important if you only have 1 oven in your house. It will give you the opportunity to free up your oven space in time to bake your side dishes AND your turkey will be moist and warm!

It’s always hard to figure out when to start the turkey to ensure it’s done in time for the feast but it adds all sorts of challenges when you’re also trying to bake side dishes and casseroles to serve with your turkey. When you use this method, your turkey will be done the morning of Thanksgiving and you can focus the rest of your time getting everything else ready. The turkey might be the main event but it’s not nearly as good without the gravy, the dressing (or stuffing, if that’s what you like) and don’t forget the cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese and green beans! Oh my! I could go on and on. What is your favorite side dish for Thanksgiving?

To prepare this turkey you’ll start the day before Thanksgiving and let it cook until the next morning. Once the turkey is done, you’ll remove the meat from the bones, which will be really easy to do because the turkey will be so moist and tender. Did you know the secret to a moist and tender turkey is cooking it breast side down? No more basting!! Let it baste itself instead. After you remove the turkey from the bones, you’ll transfer it to a slow cooker to stay warm until you’re ready to serve it. I suggest adding some of the broth from the turkey pan into the slow cooker so it doesn’t get dried out while you’re keeping it warm.

I know you’re thinking, “but what about the beautiful presentation of the whole bird?”, I promise you, everyone prefers a better tasting meal over a the presentation!

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Overnight Turkey

Get ready to impress your friends and family with the most delicious turkey ever! To make it even better, it will be the easiest turkey you’ve ever baked. Trust me!



1 whole turkey
2 ribs celery, cut into chunks
1 orange or lemon, wedged
1 onion, wedged
Kosher Salt
Fresh Rosemary
Pampered Chef Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix


  • Preheat your oven to 400°
  • Prepare the turkey as usual: wash it well, and remove the neck and giblets.
  • Dry turkey with paper towels, salt the cavity with Kosher Salt, stuff with celery, orange/lemon, and/or onions if desired.
  • Rub the outside well with vegetable oil.
  • Sprinkle with Pampered Chef Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix
  • Put the turkey breast down (this bastes itself, making the white meat very moist)
  • TIGHTLY cover the turkey with aluminum foil.
  • Roast the turkey for 1 hour at 400°
  • Without opening the oven, adjust temperature to 200° or 250° for any size turkey.
    *The first hour destroys bacteria on the surface of the turkey and begins the slow-cooking process.
  • Bake overnight without basting or checking on the turkey, approximately 1 hour per pound.
    *The turkey cannot burn while cooking at this low of a temperature, so it needs no watching, and once it is done, it will not overcook. You can leave the turkey in the oven for an additional 3-6 hours and it will still be perfect. The turkey simply falls off the bones and produces enough drippings for lots of gravy!
    When you do pull the turkey out of the oven, be ready for the easiest “carving” ever! The meat just falls off the bones. You’ll be tempted to eat the whole thing right away.
    (this recipe has been adapted from Emilie Barnes’ 15 minute Home and Family Organizer Book)


This method produces a lot of juice, so be sure to have a deep pan & don’t use a rack. I use this 14 x 10 Enameled Cast Iron pan from Pampered Chef.

Without opening the oven, be sure to check the oven is still on after 10-12 hours — it might have an automatic shut off system. Just turn it back on and continue roasting until you are ready to take apart the turkey.

  • Author: Mindy Banks

Keywords: overnight turkey, Thanksgiving turkey, Easy Turkey

While we are talking about turkeys, let me share 3 of my favorite turkeys! A few years ago, I had my family and my in-laws come over for Thanksgiving and I have so many wonderful memories from that day. We can always count on my Dad to entertain the littles. Actually, if you know my Dad, he entertains everyone! While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, my very talented and artistic Dad decided to draw a turkey on the boys chalkboard table and his artwork never disappoints! I kind of wished it wasn’t in chalk so I could leave it there forever. That drawing and the chalk table are both long gone now but thanks to these photos, I can share it with you and remember it forever.

I have so many wonderful memories of Thanksgiving but I have to share this photo because it was the 1st Thanksgiving for my family! I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving traditions too!!

4 thoughts on “Overnight Turkey – cook it while you sleep!”

  1. Michelle Newton

    I learned this method from Mindy and have been doing my turkey this way ever since. The turkey is amazing.

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